5

《画骨女仵作》

“那位画师是什么人?”景容开口。

“她叫纪云舒,是咱们锦江城出了名的画师。”县太爷答。

“如何出名?”

Does it mean

How famous is she?

or

How did she become famous?

or

What is she famous for?

6
  • Can you post a little more context?
    – laoyumi
    Jun 20 at 10:32
  • answer: How did she become famous?
    – joehua
    Jun 20 at 13:27
  • 1
    The preceding statement merely says she is a famous painter, but did not mention what sort of art-subject she is famous for; paintings of landscape, portrait, abstract, etc, ? So, it is therefore natural to ask "What is she famous for?" Same as saying someone is a famous writer, and so the follow-up question would be what sort of writings is he famous for?, (fiction, non-fiction, historical novels?) Jun 20 at 15:35
  • 1
    Native speaker here. It means "How famous is she?", as close as "有多出名?".
    – VainMan
    Jun 22 at 8:50
  • 1
    I'm a native speaker and this is a near ancient prose. so meaning is "(could you) explain 'famous'?(I want to hear more about it)"
    – neoedmund
    Jun 23 at 6:38

12 Answers 12

8

I believe the sentence is slightly ambiguous and both the first and third interpretations you proposed are possible. The first ("How famous is she") asks for the degree of fame, and the third ("How is she famous") asks for the manner of fame. It would be natural if the answer to the question were, say, a description of how the painter's work is sought after across the whole province and how her fame trumps that of other well-known painters, or a description of the painter's exceptional skill.

In fact, the author intends the third interpretation, because they continued to recount that the painter was able to reconstruct the faces of deceased persons accurately,

这些年,咱县城里多了不少的腐尸和焦尸,都无人认领,自打纪先生来了后,不管是腐尸还是白骨,准能画出死者生前的样貌了,不仅如此,她还替下官破过不少的案件。

The reason why the second interpretation is impossible is a bit subtle. I am tempted to say that the plain question 如何出名 can only be asking about a factual or habitual statement. To indicate past, one needs to "topicalize" an action with a finite temporal extent, so (at least) the particle 的 should be added, turning it into 如何出名的.

1
  • agree. I think it's a lazy shorthand. The full sentence could be “(她有)如何(程度的)出名” or “(她是)如何(方式)出名(的)”. Lazy informal conversation, just expressing interest in "出名" topics
    – yurenchen
    Jun 23 at 3:05
8

出了名的画师 = famous painter

如何出名?” = how famous?

It means: "how famous is she?" (to what degree she is famous, city-wise, nationally, or worldwide?)

  • Since they knew she is a famous painter already, there was no reason for asking "what she is famous for" ( 她凭什么出名的?/ 她出名在什么地方?)

  • If he's asking "How did she becomes famous" the question would be 她怎樣出名的?/ 她如何出名的? (how did she become famous)

4

如何出名?- What made her outstanding/famous? (What was behind the fame?)

景容 was asking the specific details and stories (特長細節和傳聞軼事) about 纪云舒, which had made 纪云舒 above the other painters.

In modern Chinese, 景容 may say "說來聽聽, 她怎麼(how)出名(became famous)的?"

3

“如何出名?” could have two meanings, but depending on the context, it is "how she get famous?"

because after this question, 县太爷 answering what she had done to help this city

if it means "how famous is she", 县太爷 should answering how crazy the fans are, how expensive her work is

3

according to next sentence

“这些年,咱县城里多了不少的腐尸和焦尸,都无人认领,自打纪先生来了后,不管是腐尸还是白骨,准能画出死者生前的样貌了,不仅如此,她还替下官破过不少的案件。”

that explain why she became famous

thus,

“如何出名?”

means 'How did she become famous?'

2

"如何出名" ‘famous, how?’, i.e., 'what is she famous for?'

2

“如何出名?”

出名 = build one's fame / rise to fame

如何出名 = how did her build her fame / how did her rise to fame?

a possible answer 1:

She first rose to fame as a singer at the age of 16. 她16岁时便作为歌手一举成名。

2

In the context, this conversion happens in ancient China, so the language here is slightly more concise than modern Chinese, so '如何出名' here actually means the same as '如何(个)出名(法)', and it means 'in what ways (he or she is) famous or how famous is he(she)', the question is not really specified.
So basically 景容 asked '如何出名' to let 县太爷 describe more details about 他(她)的出名.
And this is like a 口头禅 ————'怎么说', which is basically ask someone to tell more about what he or she has said.

1

如何: how, how'd

“那位画师是什么人?”景容开口。
"Who's that painter?" Jing Rong asked.
“她叫纪云舒,是咱们锦江城出了名的画师。”县太爷答。
"Her name is Ji Yunshu, she's from from Jin Jiang, became quite a famous painter." the county magistrate answered.
“如何出名?”
"How'd she get famous?"

1

It is ambiguous and is just a way to show that the speaker want more information and explanation. So I think it would be better translated as "Really?" or just "How"

0

I am chinese, but my english is poor. we can understand “如何出名?” the example below:

  • A say : the apple is so big!
  • B ask : what's the size of the apple?

景容 want to know how many people that from 锦江city know that painter, fewer people or no one don't know ....

0

this one-What is she famous for?

1
  • Welcome to the site. Are you able to build on this answer? As it stands, it lacks details.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Jun 22 at 10:00

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